2 July, 2012

A friend of mine who has kids is getting ready to adopt a dog.  She asked me if there is a certain breed or type of dog that gets along well with children.  I know that every dog is different but there are some questions, considerations that you should think about when bringing a dog home.

First and foremost, there really isn’t a particular breed that works better with children.  In choosing a dog, you should think about your home and what are the best dog traits that will work with your kids rather than the best dog breeds.  By looking at the dog’s traits, rather than breed, it also allows you to choose from one of the thousands mutts that would make great family dogs.

Below are some tips on how on how to make an easy transition with your dog and kids:

1.         The most important aspect of a dog’s reliability in getting along with children is his or her socialization history. Puppies that are well-socialized with kids grow into dogs that are more reliable around children.

2.         If you have an infant or very young child, raising a puppy and a baby simultaneously can be more work than you bargained for and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted!

3.         Adopting an older dog is a great solution for many families. Its socialization history might not be known, so you want a dog that is already very kid-friendly and that is gentle and tolerant with kids.  You can usually bring a dog home and make sure that he or she works well with your kids.  This is a great benefit of adopting!

4.         Watch for signs of a dog being stressed such as lip licking, backing away, growling or hackling, frequently looking away, and/or urinating when approached by children. These signs usually mean that a dog is uncomfortable around kids.

5.         No matter how well socialized your dog is or how well behaved your child is, dogs and small children should not, under any circumstance, be left unsupervised together. Virtually all dog bites on small children are from the dog being unsupervised even just for a minute. This could have been prevented altogether by monitoring dogs and children at all times when they are together.

6.         It is also important to keep your kids safe from your dog and your dog safe from your kids. If your child harasses a dog, you have a responsibility to control the situation. Give the dog a safe place to go and make sure that your dog and child are separated. It is not acceptable to let young children handle dogs roughly. Make sure that your dog and children always act gently and respectfully toward one another.

I hope these tips help and you certainly can find a dog that gets along with your kids.  It is simply a matter of trial and error.  Good luck!


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